Venezuela Seizes Kellogg Cereal Plant After Company Announces Pullout

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SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Government officials in the failing socialist country of Venezuela have seized a cereal factory owned by the Kellogg Company after the firm announced it would pull out of the region.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro accused the company of perpetrating an “absolutely unconstitutional and illegal” action with the closure, adding that the government would keep the plant open and operating, the BBC reported.

Maduro also insisted that the factory has now been handed to the workers.

With his announcement coming just ahead of the country’s presidential election, the Venezuelan president also threatened legal action against the American cereal company.

“We’ve begun judicial proceedings against the business leaders of Kellogg’s because their exit is unconstitutional,” Maduro said. “I’ve taken the decision to deliver the company to the workers in order that they can continue producing for the people.”

For its part, the company warned Maduro against using its patents and brand names for sales “without the expressed authorization of the Kellogg Company.”

At least one other U.S. company had already threatened legal proceedings against the country when Venezuela took control of a plant once belonging to Kimberly-Clark and began making personal hygiene products.

Maduro claims the U.S. is conducting an “economic war” against Venezuela.

The country’s economy has indeed crashed. A recent Forbes article claimed Venezuela is suffering an incredible inflation rate of 16,428 percent a year.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.